Locked in windowless rooms, searching for; and finding the unseen is a daily occurrence for both Bellevue patients, and the committable Detectives of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society.
Acting on a tip that a room within Brooklyn Escape Rooms held spiritual energy, we met to investigate Brooklyn Escape Room.
All This Horror Business
Since its conception in 2010, Escape Rooms have risen from a dozen venues in 2014 to over 2,800 (as of writing). There are currently eight Escape Games in operation within Brooklyn with most clustered around the Williamsburg area and an outlier in Midwood.
Tethered to an $8 billion dollar Halloween industry with heavy hitters known for “Scary-Good Strategy” such as Spirit Halloween, Escape Games often utilize temporary leases and subleases, with some even popping-up inside of breweries.
Escape Games appeals to those seeking a rush, looking to test their problem-solving skills, or seeking social activity for a special occasion. Birthday parties, work events and dates are common at these amusements.
Each with a unique theme, escape rooms lock hopeful contestants in rooms with challenging puzzles and riddles. Solving a series of puzzles usually unlocks the door, however running out of time is the most popular method of exit.
Motifs and themes vary by location, and seasonal pop-up businesses spring up; bearing themes like Ghost Room during autumn and Christmas Escape over winter. Popular mainstays are the Rube Goldberg Room, the Panic Room, and the Arcade Room.
Completion rates vary by design of the room. Beginner level rooms are sometimes fool-proof; designed to accommodate new players with simple challenges, whereas the most difficult rooms are said to have completion rates of under 2%.
Tickets usually command between $20 to $45 per person, with metropolitan cities experiences commanding significantly more. Some rooms self-report ticket sales to be over 140,000 per year which means an attraction can generate over a million dollars in revenue per year.
The Detectives present spanned a wide gamut of psychic ability and investigative skill levels. We were joined by a BKPS first-timer; he stated upon arrival that he was eager to experience our unique view on the paranormal. One member travelled from Boston, MA for the occasion.
Our most seasoned spiritualist Kor was present to provide mediumship for our investigation. Psychic-medium Kor Skeete has attended numerous paranormal investigations hosted by Brooklyn Paranormal Society and has a spotless record of meaningful spiritual communications, otherwise known as hits.
These hits are messages conveyed from the spirit-world, which must also align with abnormalities in our logging devices which monitor EMF activity, temperature, and other environmental factors.
Most were Brooklyn locals while some travelled for the occasion. “Anticipation!” for the investigation was noted as being the cause for a trip from Boston, MA to Brooklyn. It’s not every day the team gets to investigate a truly haunted location so close to founding HQ at 5th Ave and St Marks Pl.
Also present were Brooklyn Escape Room manager Ray, joined by Dungeon Master John. Ray was our complainant, a possible sensitive that has been affected by paranormal activity in multiple locations; though she stated they were clustered to a specific area.
Though the seemingly-sensitive Ray suggested that the spiritual energy could reside in a specific area, the astute detectives of BKPS knew the sordid history of the land we were standing upon.
The target of our investigation Brooklyn Escape Rooms hosts three rooms; each uniquely themed and intricately designed. Their motifs are medieval and post-apocalyptic. There’s also the haunted; a fourth experience currently under construction.
Unseasoned hunches would propose that the most likely room to host spiritual energy would be The Haunted. However, BKPS Detectives are regularly trained to avoid cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias, primacy effect and most importantly courtesy bias.
Bearing in mind that the institution was only a few years old, by all accounts, there were no signs of symptoms of a haunting before the rooms were built. And while it’s possible that owner Regina knew of a room hosting spiritual energy, she indicated to us that she had no psychic or sensitive abilities.
Sensitives possess an increased susceptibility to energy and stimulation from their environments. With training, sensitives can grow their talent into ability. It’s estimated that 20% of the world’s population is sensitive, or in some way psychic.
There’s thought to be hundreds of types of psychic abilities, though not all are generally accepted.
Of the possible hundreds; thirty-odd are unique and distinct. The most notable of notable psychic abilities vary from Apportation — the ability to teleport yourself or an object; to Thoughtography which is the ability to imprint images from one’s mind onto physical surfaces via psychic means.
Over the years we’ve utilized conscious abilities to contact spirits during ghost hunts such as Conjuring and Scrying, and we’ve witnessed our Detectives feverishly scribble clues from the other-side using Automatic Writing.
While these techniques are complementary to an investigation where the purpose is to gather information and data, not all psychic abilities yield themselves to an adventurous detective agency.
If we had mastery over abilities like Second Sight or Pre-cognition which provide the psychic with definite knowledge; our cases would be closed before we received tips!
During our initial research phase, I dug through internet and newspaper archives to build a primer on the history of the land, and the various businesses the property has hosted over the years.
Long before the mysterious cloud sightings at Beyond Vape and spontaneous eruptions at Barclays Center was the presence of the Lenape tribe…
On Natives, and Spirits
Origin stories of the Lenape tribe, the natives of the land were investigated upon to peg their dawn at over 10,000 years ago. While their influence isn’t felt in the communities now upon their land, their customs and beliefs fit in perfectly with many of us today.
The Lenape believe that spirits surround us. Some are positive while others are negative. Their belief system, known as Animism, explains that everything has a spirit, from rocks to trees.
The negative spirits (Menetuwak) are believed to cause sickness and death, while the positive spirits can be plied with offerings like fruit or small gifts, with the intention of hopes coming to fruition through the offerings.
The first recorded contact with Europeans came in 1524. Upon entering Lower New York Bay; a narrow strait between Brooklyn and New Jersey — explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was greeted by local Lenape tribesmen in canoes.
Though their official website touts them to be peace-loving, history, and our psychic-medium Kor report differently. It should come as no surprise that the Lenape were adept warriors, their arsenals and abilities were honed over hundreds of battles.
The might of the Lenape were called upon numerous times in history, most notably during the Revolutionary War, which saw the Lenape fight on both sides. A cursory search of the history of the tribe shows that they used weapons including war clubs, tomahawks, battle hammers, bows and arrows, knives, spears and axes,
While the 1600s were terrible for the Lenape because of misfortune, inter-tribal, and European violence affecting them; a few years throughout the decade stand out as notable.
For example, most know that modern-day Manhattan is truly priceless; but in 1638 the land was priced at a paltry 60 guilders — about $24. This jaw-dropping amount pales in comparison to the current estimated value of the land, which is quoted to be as high as 1.74 trillion dollars.
Possibly the most disadvantageous political election of all time also signified the downfall of the Lenape. This occurred in 1636 with the arrival of governor Willem Kieft. Kieft would prove to be a scourge upon the Lenape.
He launched a campaign of torture and terror which reached a notable climax in 1641 when a bounty was placed on Raritan scalps. This incentivized the Dutch settlers to murder local Native Indians. Two-year long Kieft’s War (1643-1645) erupted as a result, with Settlers and Natives both engaging in back-and-forth violence.
The Pavonia Massacre (Feb. 25, 1643) saw Dutch soldiers torture and murder Lenape peoples, with the natives’ response coming later on October 1st, 1643. On that day, a force of united Native Indian tribes attacked and razed the homesteads at Pavonia.
In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant succeeded Kieft and is said to have arrived with intentions of quelling the situation. However, history and our prior paranormal investigation of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery revealed the spirit of Peter Stuyvesant to be rude, mean and benevolent.
Stuyvesant was recorded as being intolerant of others’ religious beliefs, and it’s said the institution of slavery would flourish in New Amsterdam under his governorship. With regards to Peter’s chances of getting into heaven: break a leg.
The Lenape fought for the British throughout the French and Indian Wars (1688-1763). Exotic disease and constant warfare took an undeniable toll on the numbers of Lenape. By 1845, less than 2,000 Lenape were in existence.
Today, the Lenape population has surpassed 16,000 and they are spread far and wide across North America.
Earliest records of the Brooklyn Escape Room property begin on August 31st, 1872 – when the house was listed for sale in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. In 1875, advertisements in the local paper referred to the property as Raymond & Co’s, or SK Raymond & Co’s Stables.
The passage of time, perhaps through the death of the owner brought a change of business from stables to furniture around 1934. At the time, LI Freight Warehouse operated a business that sold unclaimed rail cargo at the property.
A surge in rail travel heralded the streamline era and forgetful passengers, employee errors and/or disregard meant passengers often lost luggage. Unclaimed luggage would then be acquired and sold by local businesses, a reflection present in the model of modern reality shows like Storage Wars.
The first recorded crime on the Brooklyn Escape Room property was recorded in the local police blotter on August 26th, 1938 when four men were charged with stealing 18 radios and 100 radio tubes from the property at 594 Pacific Street.
Receiving stolen goods with the intention of re-selling them is known as fencing, and this was a popular crime in that time. Although little is known about the dynamic duo — including their sentences; we do know that Morris Alzado was a fan of George Washington.
The archives were scoured for any other mentions, but nothing further was found…
Before descending the Brooklyn Escape Room basement stairs, Ray dutifully warned us not that what we were about to experience would not necessarily be spooky; but rather it would be stinky. The basement had in previous years, (and while under different ownership) experienced a mold problem.
Due to the warning, we didn’t get a chance to test Clairofactance before we embarked. As you may have predicted, clairofactance is the ability to access spiritual or mediumistic knowledge through smell.
We used GoPros to get footage of the event. GoPros are cameras that are usually used for perspective shots or close ups in the realm of adventure and exploration. It’s convenience, high quality footage and it’s rustic and genuine feel makes it perfect for shooting footage related to ghost hunting.
These miniature video-cameras are excellent for ghost hunting since action cameras, are centered around capturing footage while you’re on the move, or for things on the move.
For our first Brooklyn Escape Room stop, we investigated a post-apocalyptic themed room, which homed a carnivorous plant. We speculated that a Pterodactyl would be able to eat the plant, but even then it’s chances would be slim.
Immediately upon entering the room, we could sense that there was self abuse, and the ruckus in the room and within the doll was self inflicted. Despite the bed being extremely strong, the doll put the evil spirit, inadvertently, in the bed.
We tried to understand what the doll represents and how she might have impacted the basement she resided in. After talking to the doll, we understood that she represents a girl while another one of the dolls represents a boy who played the violin.
We then sat on the bed surrounded by all the dolls to get a better understanding of their past and the impact they had on the basement they resided in. The trunk in the basement possessed a positive energy, which barred the evil spirits from entering inside it.
We then surveyed the basement which showed an element of a welcoming availability. Women and children who lived here were protected from soldiers and the place was a refuge where people got food and rest. Eventually, a doctor was brought here to treat the warriors and even the enemies. The boy who lived here was going to be killed by Native Americans, while his parents were slaughtered.
Jebediah was felt in the room and we addressed his spirit, reassuring him of his invaluable contributions to make this a safe place, after which we exited the premises. The Detectives of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society said a parting prayer, then hit Shake Shack for a wrap-up.